How Much Does a Lawyer Make a Year? 2020 Lawyer Salaries

On a financial basis, practicing law can be much rewarding, as the salaries of the lawyers are quite different. In 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average salary for the lawyers was $112,760 each year. Nevertheless, there is a big difference that depends on the field which you are practicing in law and based on the location.

How Much Does a Lawyer Make a Year? 2020 Lawyer Salaries the most

Table of Contents

Field of Law

The moneymaking in the corporate sector is probably more than the Public service lawyers are making. In the year 2020, $50,500 was the average entry-level salary for the public defender. The expected amount to make was $78,600 based on more than 11 years of experience attorney for the same position. During the first year of earning the expected salary for the Prosecutors working for the local government, the bigger agencies might pay you slightly higher. These jobs are not paying much as other jobs are paying, other than that; student loan forgiveness is the other part of the hiring package of the new attorney.

In the small agency, the first year corporate lawyers can earn up to $105,000 and in the large agency, they can earn up to $160,000. The jobs for the corporate law is comparatively less that is why the big companies are little choosy to appoint the lawyer. The condition to be eligible include you must be a graduate from the reputed school like Harvard or Stanford, your GPA must be excellent and must have an attracted resume, for example, being a clerk for the superior judge or work as a head of a law review.

How Much Does a Lawyer Make a Year? 2020 Lawyer Salaries of lawyers

The large incomes can be made on the basis of some attorneys. We can take an example of the patent attorney on which you can get an average salary up to $200,000 each year with a few years’ experiences. Large salaries can be earned by working as trial lawyers for wealthy clients. The starting of the income is from $500,000 that raises up to $40 million each year.


The lawyers living in the west and east coast may comparatively earn more money than the lawyers working in the middle of the country. In 2020 according to the report of ABA Journal in San Jose, the average salary was $192,020. Moreover, the lawyers in San Francisco earn an amount of $167,130. In New York, an average salary for the lawyers was $166,133 and $153,520 was the average salary for lawyers in Washington D.C. These income amount are slightly higher than the lawyers in the other cities comparatively due to which their cost of living is higher as a result.

In comparison, the average salary of lawyers living in Billings, Montana is
$82,380 while the average salary for the lawyers in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is $86,640. The lawyers working in rural areas have low income in comparison that is $50,000 each year. There is little work for the lawyers working in the small town and their living standard cost you low.

Choosing a Field of Law

To practice for law, there are many fields. When you want to select which field you have to go with for specialization, for this remember your interest and strengths with the most important thing the average salary of the field annually.

Job Description

By using their knowledge of the law, lawyers solve the legal problems of their clients. By counseling in business, transactions some of them work in the corporate world while other work for the clients that are stuck in any legal system, divorce proceedings, personal injury litigation and advocating in place of their clients in criminal trails. As the cases depend on the time and are sensitive so the lawyers have to work hard to meet the deadlines given to them. If you are a cool minded person and can think sensibly in the time of difficulty then you must be born a lawyer.

Education Requirements

Seven years of education must be completed to become a lawyer, the first four years are for the undergraduate program. The next step is to attend the school of law to receive the doctorate degree to pass the state bar, this is a big and critical stage that basically analyze your persuasive, legal and analytical skills. This is never ending training, as some states require continuing education status.

What you will get in return for this much hard work? In the year 2020, the average salary for the median lawyer was $118,160 each year which means half of all the attorneys which you earn will be more than the amount mentioned. $56,910 is the minimum 10 percent amount, which is earned every year. In reality, you are expecting the salary of a junior lawyer to fall near the lower amount.


For the minimum few years, most of the juniors attorney take a start from the law firms in which they work as in house counselor may start with the solo practice. To bring the criminal defendants to the trial Public prosecutors work for the government in this regard. Moreover, each lawyer must do the specialization in the field of law that includes tax, real estate, crime, corporate law, family law or patent litigation. There are further some subfields in specialization like a corporate lawyer that deals with the mergers and acquisitions only.

Years of Experience

In comparison with most of the professions, the lawyers are the one who earn more with time and experience. The progression of salary generally looks like this:

  • With 0-5 years’ experience, the average salary is $70,000.
  • With 5-10 years’ experience, the average salary is $98,000.
  • With 10-20 years’ experience, the average salary is $119,000.
  • With 20 plus years’ experience, the average salary is $139,000.

Keep in mind above mentioned is the average salary progression of any legal profession. According to the above-mentioned salaries, the salary of corporate lawyers is 40 percent higher and earn more than the other professions. Moreover, the public prosecutors in comparison will start earning with 18 percent less than this.

Best-Paying Cities for Lawyers

The important thing is how much does a lawyer make a year according to the cities? So here are mentioned some of the best-paying cities for Lawyers that pay them with the great average salary. The pays are mentioned from high to low. Have a look at it.

  • In San Jose, California average salary is $198,100.
  • In San Francisco, California average salary is $189,660.
  • In Anaheim, California average salary is $189,150.
  • In Bridgeport, California average salary is $182,160.
  • In San Rafael., California average salary is $180,530.

Best-Paying States for Lawyers

The question is how much does a lawyer make a year according to the states? So here are mentioned some of the best paying states and district that pay the lawyers with the great average salary include:

  • In District of Columbia average salary is $189,560.
  • In California average salary is $168,200.
  • In New York average salary is $165,260.
  • In Massachusetts average salary is $157,450.
  • In Connecticut average salary is $152,540.

Average Lawyer Pay vs Other Best Jobs

In 2020, the average salary of lawyers, which they earn, was $141,850. Other jobs that are in comparison to this average salary in the year 2020 are as follow:

  • The average salary for Financial Managers is $143,530.
  • The average salary for Actuaries is $114,850.
  • The average salary for Political Scientists is $112,030.
  • The average salary for Paralegals is $53,910.

Jobs Related to Lawyer

To do the regular job as a lawyer it is must for the office to hire a paralegal.

Paralegal is someone who helps to summarize the reports of legal precedent, attorney draft motions and it work as a legal assistant.

Political Scientist is a student who is a constant learner of political theory. They use the data (both quantitative and qualitative) data to learn the procedure and laws how they can force the government, individuals and businesses.

  • Financial Manager – The Average Salary is $143,530

Financial Manager is responsible to oversees the finances of the largest
companies, firms and all the things included in it. This also include the teams with whom they coordinate accounting and present the cash-flow statements, profit projections, and financial reports.

  • Actuary –The Average Salary is $114,850

The Actuary is the scientist that uses the field of statistics, mathematics and
financial theory to manage and measure the financial risk and unreliability. This is important for the insurance industry and they are growingly searching niches in other businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does a lawyer make a year?

The average salary of the lawyer is up to $ 119,250 per year, which is
approximately $9,938 per month.

  • Did the lawyers who are practicing privately or are the partners in the law companies have more salary?

Yes, the salary of the partners working in the law firms own more than the one practicing privately.